Almost immediately, my Facebook page started blowing up (relatively speaking). I literally was in shock, not because of the increase in Facebook likes but because it meant an opportunity to encourage and help more people than I would have had otherwise. In addition, someone I respect, appreciated my thoughts, and that's an awesome feeling.
Shortly after the initial excitement, I began to worry. Will people like what I had to say as much as Science Babe did? Will people disagree with me? Will people make fun of me? What if they say something not kind? She referred to me as a "fitness pro"…am I really a pro? Do I know enough to be considered a "fitness pro"? Do I look like a "fitness pro"? What if people comment about my huge ass thighs?
Sharing information, experiences, and opinions so publicly on a blog and Facebook platform means you put yourself out there- open to the judgement, comments and critiques from anyone who cares to leave a comment. I think of myself as a pretty confident individual, but this exposure left me feeling a little, well…. exposed and vulnerable.
Naturally, I clicked over to Science Babe's page to see what others had to say. And there it was…..
He was talking about me.
Given Science Babe's reference to "my guns", I can only assume that he meant my muscles weren't sexy, but either way, I'm human and for a split second my feelings were hurt.
This wasn't the first time a stranger had made a comment about my figure or strength being unattractive, but it was the first time it's happened so publicly-- that is, if Facebook can be considered public. Suddenly, I felt like I was back in fourth grade and all the cute, cool boys were making fun of me for being chubby.
His comment confirmed that all of my worries were legit and totally rational.
My knee jerk reaction was to leave a snide reply to this fella filled with equal parts rudeness and defense, declaring that the feeling was mutual.
I took a few deep breaths and decided that wasn't the classiest approach to take.
By the time I could collect my thoughts, a few comments had already been made pointing out that his comment was rude and in no way relevant to anything mentioned in my original status. Wow, strangers going to bat for me. That's pretty awesome.
Calm, cool, collected, I replied, "I understand muscles on both male and females are a matter of personal preference and (fill in dude's name) doesn't find muscles attractive. That's cool. I can handle that."
Why reply at all? Because whether it's in person, in private or, in this case, on Facebook, people say rude things all the time. I wanted to lead by example and I certainly did not want people to interpret my silence as defeat. I could let said dude's comment fester and stir up insecurities, worries and fears or I could note his not-so-constructive comment, and just let it go.
(are you singing "Let It Go" now? Me too)
I feel good about my body-what it has done, can do and will do for me. Besides, my husband finds me sexy. I'll be damned if I let a stranger take that away from me.
In the end Science Babe deleted the entire comment thread, because she's classy like that.
For me, working outside of my comfort zone (which most of this blog/Facebook stuff is) is a constant tug of war between feeling awesome and feeling like a fool.
A favorite body image expert of mine, Erin Brown, noted this struggle as well after she released her first book, "As Is". She made a comment recently that stuck with me, "People will be critical. Do it anyway."
People might make unkind comments. They might challenge my fitness knowledge, and they may even make a note about my tree trunks. And most likely, considering the growth of my blog it's probably going to happen more and more often but…..
….. I will do it anyway.